i was on the withoutabox message boards and came across this excellent list of festivals. it was put together by Attila Szász, writer director whose short film played at 56 festivals. if you’re not a member of withoutabox, you won’t be able to see the original thread on the message board, so i’ll copy and paste some of his original post:
I have a short film I’ve been trying to manage through the festival circuit for the last 18 months. This means I’ve been researching American and international film festivals for two years now pretty intensively. Chris Gore’s book was a major help halfway through (I managed to get a hold of it after a year), but I believe it’s quite outdated now and doesn’t really focus on short films.
I read a lot of posts on these board asking “What fests to submit?”.
I don’t believe that anyone can answer this question, because it always depends on the given film itself. And even if you calculated every single aspect of your film and came up with a list of festival that might accept it, I’m pretty sure that you ran into some major surprises (both pleasant and unpleasant).
So I don’t try to answer this question. What I’ve tried is to come up with a list of the TOP 100 Film Festivals around the world for short films. This is not a list of Short Film Festivals only. This a list of film festivals that can do the following to your short film:
– qualify it for Oscar consideration
– or qualify it for the European Film Award (if you have a European short with a running time less than 15 minutes)
– or provide amazing distribution possibilities (being a short film market)
– or put the spotlight on you like no other festivals
– or guarantee a huge attendance for your screening like no other festivals
– or give a chance to win amazing amount of cash or equipment
– or bring out the biggest names in the industry to network who can actually make or break your future
– or give a chance to focus on your next film by organizing a co-production market with the festival full of producers hungry for projects
– or take you to places on Earth you would never be able to travel
– or throw the most spectacular parties where you don’t feel like an outsider with your short
– or simply give your short film a huge prestige just by having the laurel on your poster
– or all these combined.
In short, if you have a short, and you want to give it a real shot, you should consider submit it to some of these festivals.
This list is not based (only) on personal experinces, like Chris Gore’s book. It’s based on extensive research on the internet and numerous discussions with European and American players (members of film councils, producers, festival directors, filmmakers, film critics).